Song Of The Day 3/4/2016: Dramarama – “Worse Than Being By Myself”

Dropped Off In the '80s – I lived in the cities San Francisco and Los Angeles for almost the same amount of time each -- five years, give or take a month. After pooh-poohing on L.A. for most of the time before I actually lived there, and in full view of what we, The Creative Class, are collectively calling "What The Hell Has Happened To San Francisco," I have to say my sentiments have changed. They're both about net equal in my book now. I look back on Los Angeles as being not that bad -- actually had wonderful experiences the last couple times I was there.

There are lots of real rivalries between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Dodgers-Giants one, for example. And there's the Rams-49ers one that they're going to try and resuscitate next football season. One rivalry I always fantasized about, but clearly never happened, was between the two cities' most demonstratively emotional '80s and '90s bands. The bands who were so exacting and unafraid to delve into uncomfortable truisms that instead of being perceived as wimps, they were sort of reversed tough guys. In a way. I'm not explaining that well.

ANYWAY, the San Francisco band I'm thinking of is American Music Club, who remains my preference. Mark Eitzel's songs were either delicate and graduating or shredding and, frankly, frightening. The L.A. band was Dramarama, who were every bit the L.A. banad (though I listened to them mainly when I lived in San Francisco). There weren't as many degrees of emotionalism with Dramarama or their figurehead John Easdale; they were pissed off all the time. But they covered a wide range of pissed-off, and were one of the very, very few bands who actually made self-loathing seem cool. Somehow they turned Easdale's unsparing brooding into the most responsible act one could do. They did it most aggressively on "Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)," which wasn't unrealistically proper about relationship conflicts as many tried to be at the time. But I always liked "Worse Than Being By Myself" as it painted a stark portrait of emotional entrapment for which there truly seems no way out. Dude was stuck. And the gentle, slow-Doors like pulse and railing release are even better than, well, the Doors. Dramarama did actually survive the end of the '80s, in fact they're still around now. Because this kind of music was far more mentally healthy than we might like to recall.

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